New Study: Is a Calorie a Calorie?

A new study in JAMA led by Dr. Cara B. Ebbeling and colleagues purports to challenge the idea that all calories are equally fattening (1).  Let's have a look.  When thinking about the role of calorie intake in body fatness, there are basically three camps:

1.    Calories don’t matter at all, only diet composition matters.
2.    Calories are the only thing that matters, and diet composition is irrelevant.
3.    Calories matter, but diet composition may also play a role.

The first one is an odd position that is not very well populated.  The second one has a lot of adherents in the research world, and there’s enough evidence to make a good case for it.  It’s represented by the phrase ‘a calorie is a calorie’, i.e. all calories are equally fattening.  #1 and #2 are both extreme positions, and as such they get a lot of attention.  But the third group, although less vocal, may be closest to the truth. 
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Wacky Facts Wednesday - Bone Count

An adult has fewer bones than a baby. We start off life with 350 bones, but because bones fuse together during growth, we end up with only 206 as adults.

Look Better - Feel Better - Live Better
~ Sue

What Puts Fat Into Fat Cells, and What Takes it Out?

Body fatness at its most basic level is determined by the rate of fat going into vs. out of fat cells. This in/out cycle occurs regardless of conditions outside the cell, but the balance between in and out is influenced by a variety of external factors.  One of the arguments that has been made in the popular media about obesity goes something like this:  

A number of factors can promote the release of fat from fat cells, including:
Epinephrine, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), glucagon, thyroid-stimulating hormone, melanocyte-stimulating hormone, vasopressin, and growth hormone
 But only two promote fat storage:
Insulin, and acylation-stimulating protein (ASP)*
Therefore if we want to understand body fat accumulation, we should focus on the latter category, because that's what puts fat inside fat cells.  Simple, right?

Can you spot the logical error in this argument?

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Join An Online Support Group.

Tuesday’s Tip #3

It’s essential that you not feel alone, and reaching out to friends (new or old) is typically a smart move. 

I just heard about My Fitness Pal, but didn’t know about it when I began down the road to weight loss. 

You have to know that others are out there for moral support – they know things that you couldn’t possibly know, and they’ve probably been “in your shoes” at some point in the past (or present). 

Share stories, laughter, tears, successes, and failures – share them. 

There are thousands of communities out there, so keep looking until you find the one that fits you.

Look Better - Feel Better - Live Better.
~ Sue

Motivation Monday: Get Up and Move

Rise and grind my friends!

It’s MONDAY, and y’all know what that means…. It’s time for yet another instalment of ”Motivation Monday” where I share with you my thought/motto/mantra for the week.

I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.--Frank Lloyd Wright
Have A Great Week Everyone, And Remember….
“Get Up and Move”

Are You Really Hungry?

Before eating, ask yourself if you’re really hungry.

If not, put down the food and find a distraction.
Tips to avoid eating in the absence of hunger:

· Drink a full glass of water
· Find an active distraction (a walk or household chore)
· Drink Bios Life Slim
· Wait 30 minutes and re-assess your hunger
· Read from your weight loss journal to remember your goals

Do you have any tips to add to our list, if so add them in the comments section at the bottom?

A Pressure Cooker for the 21st Century

Pressure cookers are an extremely useful kitchen tool.  They greatly speed cooking and reduce energy usage by up to 70 percent.  This is because as pressure increases, so does the boiling point of water, which is the factor that limits cooking speed in water-containing foods (most foods).  If it weren't for my pressure cooker, I'd rarely eat beets or globe artichokes.  Instead of baking, boiling or steaming these for 60-90 minutes, I can have them soft as butter in 30.  But let's face it: most people are intimidated by pressure cookers.  They fear the sounds, the hot steam, and the perceived risk of explosion.  I escaped this because I grew up around them.

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New Study Demonstrates that Sugar has to be Palatable to be Fattening in Mice

Dr. Anthony Sclafani's research group just published a study definitively demonstrating that high palatability, or pleasantness of taste, is required for sugar to be fattening in mice (1).  Dr. John Glendinning was lead author. Dr. Sclafani's group has done a lot of excellent research over the years.  Among other things, he's the person who invented the most fattening rodent diet in the world-- the 'cafeteria diet'-- composed of human junk food. 

Mice and rats love sweet food and drinks, just like humans.  If you give them a choice between plain water and sugar water, they'll overconsume the sugar water and become obese.  I have argued, based on a large body of evidence, that the reward value and palatability* of these solutions are important to this process (2, 3, 4).  This is really just common sense honestly, because by definition if the solution weren't rewarding the mice wouldn't go out of their way to drink it instead of water, the same way people wouldn't go out of their way to get soda if it weren't rewarding.  But it's always best to confirm common sense with research.
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"In Case Of Emergency Melting Chocolate Mug Cake!"

Give this one a try, satisfy your cravings with CAKE!!! Yes, really, it works and you will love it.

1 Egg
1/4 Cup Skim Milk
Dash Vanilla Extract to taste
1 Heaping Scoop Appetizer Diet Rich Chocolate Shake
1 Tablespoon flour (preferably whole wheat)
1 packet Stevia (recommend SweetLeaf Sweetener 100% Stevia)
Dash Cinnamon

In a bowl whisk egg and milk to combine. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Spray the inside of a microwave-safe mug with non-stick spray.

Pour batter into mug and microwave for approximately 45 seconds up to 2 minutes. Cook time will vary depending on your microwave power and desired consistency.


Sugar Intake and Body Fatness in Non-industrial Cultures

Around the world, non-industrial cultures following an ancestral diet and lifestyle tend to be lean. When they transition a modern diet and lifestyle, they typically put on body fat and develop the classic "diseases of civilization" such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  If we can understand the reasons why this health transition occurs, we will understand why these problems afflict us today.  Research has already identified a number of important factors, but today I'm going to discuss one in particular that has received a lot of attention lately: sugar.

There's an idea currently circulating that sugar is the main reason why healthy traditional cultures end up obese and sick.  It’s easy to find non-industrial cultures that are lean and don’t eat much sugar, and it’s easy to find industrial cultures that are obese and eat a lot of it.  But many factors are changing simultaneously there.  We could use the same examples to demonstrate that blue jeans and hair gel cause obesity.  If sugar is truly the important factor, then cultures with a high sugar intake, but an otherwise ancestral diet and lifestyle, should also be overweight and sick.  Let’s see if that's true. 

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Calories Still Matter

The Centers for Disease Control's NHANES surveys documented a massive increase in obesity in the United States between the 1960-62 and 2007-2008 survey periods (1).  In 1960, 13 percent of US adults were obese, while in 2008 that number had risen to 34 percent.  The prevalence of extreme obesity increased from 0.9 to 6.0 percent over the same time period!

Something has changed, but what?  Well, the most parsimonious explanation is that we're simply eating more.  Here is a graph I created of our calorie intake (green) overlaid on a graph of obesity prevalence (blue) between 1970 and 2008:

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The 80/20 Diet Rule

If you apply this principle to weight loss, it necessitates doing only those things which will give you the BEST results. 

So, you have to do only those 20% exercises which give you 80% of all your results. 

You have to cut down on that 20% of food that results in 80% of your fat.

Once you do that, it will become very easy to lose weight.

Let’s use the 80/20 rule and decide to eliminate that 20% food from your overall diet that will help in 80% reduction of your weight. 

OK – now let this sink-in: if you want a healthy body, you just need to concentrate on reducing or completely eliminating the following items from your diet …

The 20% of foods that are 80% responsible for your weight problems are …

• Flour 
• Sugar
• Salt
• Alcohol

That’s not complicated is it? It is also not a lot to remember. But this is powerful because if you can just work on cutting-down or eliminating these foods from your diet, you will have no problems with weight at all.

Foods that contain added sugar and refined flour, quite simply, are nutrient-poor. Foods that contain whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre (fiber). So avoid foods containing these things - especially cakes, pastries, biscuits etc – which contain both!

How to Cut-Down - Let’s Consider Sugar as an Example

If you’ve been eating sugar (in any of its forms) since childhood, it’s nearly impossible to stop eating it - tomorrow!

What you have to do is cut down your daily sugar intake by small amounts. For example, if you take a total of 5 cups of sugary drinks per day (tea, coffee, sodas etc), you could begin by moving that total down to, say 4 or even 3 cups. That way, you won’t feel the ‘pain’ of having to do without it and still be able to control yourself. After a couple of weeks, you can cut it down to just 2 cups.

Better still, try to learn to take those drinks without sugar or perhaps try replacing them (or some of them) with herbal drinks that do not contain sugar. Just cut-down; you don’t need to cut them out completely.

Really? Yes!

It’s easy. Isn’t it? 

The goal is to make small changes that will bring in huge results – that’s the 80/20 principle at work - and that’s how you have to proceed. We’re not cutting out everything. Rather, we’re cutting-out, or down, on only that small number of items that are responsible for generating a lot of fat in the body - or don’t give it a chance to burn body fat.

What I now want to share with you is how you can get even quicker results by combining exercise.
Exercise is as important for your body as is a healthy and balanced diet. I can’t emphasize it enough – exercise is a fantastic accelerator for losing weight and keeping your body healthy.
Are you ready?

Then let’s begin.

It does not matter too-much exactly what type of physical exercise you perform – playing sport, gardening, performing house-hold tasks – absolutely all forms of exercise are beneficial to a certain extent.

You should aim to exercise two or three times per week; doing sessions of 20 to 30 minutes minimum of aerobic exercise. This really is very little time to invest to reap the associated positive health benefits.

Easy Ways of Taking Aerobic Exercise 

• Walking (at a reasonable pace)
• Jogging
• Riding a Bike
• Dancing
• Swimming

The best piece of advice you can get here is this – listen carefully – find something that you really enjoy, that is also aerobic by nature. If you enjoy doing it, you will be much more likely to continue and get it into your lifestyle; and that should be your intention. Conversely, if you choose to do something you don’t enjoy, it will become a chore; and eventually, you will give it up.

Here’s to a Healthier & Slimmer You!

What my 1200 Calorie Diet looks like

Breakfast – 280

Lunch – 310

Snacks – 300

Dinner – 290

Supper (I normally just have a cup of green tea, but will have a piece of fruit if my numbers are low)